People before Profit Alliance Lisbon Treaty Press Statement

The People before Profit Alliance held a press conference this morning announcing the launch to their No Campaign to the Lisbon Treaty.

A statement was read by Eddie Conlon on behalf of People Before Profit Alliance

“Today People before Profit are announcing the start of their No to the Lisbon Treaty Campaign. The Lisbon Treaty is essentially a redrafted version of the EU Constitution which was rejected by French and Dutch voters in 2005. Ireland is the only state, out of the 27 EU member states, to have a referendum which means that the Irish are, in effect, voting on behalf of 490 million Europeans.

“We are campaigning for a No vote on three grounds. Firstly, we are opposed to the further militarisation of the EU. In contrast to all other areas of public policy, Lisbon calls for all member states to increase their military spending and obliges them to make their facilities available for EU military activity. It extends the grounds on which the EU can participate in military interventions beyond the boarders of the EU and strengthens the links between the EU and NATO. Lisbon also allow for the incorporation of Irish forces into EU military structures and planning, which are dominated by states with colonial histories and use military operations for political-economic ends.

“Secondly, Lisbon does nothing to seriously address the democratic deficit that lies at the heart of the EU project. The voting balance within the EU would change to favour of countries with larger populations. Lisbon does nothing to address the fact that the only EU body with the power to draft laws is the European Commission. This body is not elected by the people of Europe, so there is no direct link between us and them. Most worryingly of all, Lisbon would reduce the areas where governments could veto policy proposals.

“Thirdly, Lisbon would make privatisation of our public services easier. Already, the EU is forcing people in wealthier regions to compete with the poor and jobless in a race to the bottom. This will get worse with Lisbon as the EU seeks to create even more favorable conditions for big business to operate in an unrestricted European-wide market.

“Undistorted competition is the key EU organising principle and is the framework for all other policies. Since the 1980s the EU has moved to restructure essential public services such as water and sanitation, public transport, energy, post and telecoms as private business. Now, with the Lisbon Treaty, our health, education and social care systems are in their sights. This is confirmed by IBECs recent statement that “a yes vote for the Lisbon Treaty creates the potential for increased opportunities for Irish business particularly in areas subject to increasing liberalisation such as health [and] education”.

“People before Profit will be conducting a national campaign for a No Vote to the Lisbon Treaty. We will be distributing 150,000 thousand leaflets, 5,000 posters and canvassing door-to-door in more than 15 constituencies. Unlike, the Yes campaign are financial means are modest and we rely on support from our members and activists who have been tirelessly fundraising for many months.

“People before Profit believes that the choice facing Irish voters is simple; Do we want a corporate, privatized Europe, with profit and competition as a priority? Or, do we want a social, democratic and demilitarized Europe that defends access to high–quality public services and that puts the interests of the people of Europe before profit?

ENDS

CHAIR:

Eddie Conlon (087-7925120)

(People before Profit Steering Committee)

SPEAKERS:

Richard Boyd Barrett (087-6329511)

(People before Profit candidate: Dun Laoghaire Constituency),

Des Bonass (087-7925120)

(UNITE union)

Ailbhe Smyth (087-2055433)

(Co-Convenor, People Before Profit Alliance)

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